With cannabis edibles poised to spread throughout Canada in just a few short months, it’s time we take a look at the joys of body highs, happy gummies, and cannabutter. Historically limited to back-door baking, the world of edibles is moving far beyond the furtive kitchen projects of old and bringing us into the golden age of goodies.
Are Cannabis Edibles Legal in Canada?
Though federal regulations are scheduled to be complete by October 17, 2019, edibles may not be available until much later. Currently, it seems that the implementation process for edibles will delay their official arrival to market by a few months.
But once the shelves are stocked with cannabis edibles, there will only be a few legal limitations, including a ban on cannabis-infused alcohol and a hard cap on the amount of THC that products can contain. Packages of edibles, for example, are slated to hold no more than a total of 10 milligrams of THC, though that number won’t be official until October.
Cannabis Edibles VS Smoking: How Do Edibles Get You High?
Smoking a joint will provoke a shorter, more reliable high as the compound is directly absorbed into the body. Conversely, when you swallow edibles, THC is metabolised in the liver and broken down into various chemicals, including one that is far more effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier. It’s because of this “metabolite” that people often feel nothing for an hour and then suddenly become heavily stoned.
It should be noted that keeping edibles in your mouth, like gum, triggers a different reaction. With this method of consumption, cannabinoids are absorbed through your saliva straight into the bloodstream, creating a high that’s more attuned to what you experience when smoking.
Given that effects will vary from person to person, there’s no one recommended dosage for edibles. Factors such as your metabolic rate, cannabis consumption habits, and gastrointestinal capacities should be taken into consideration when calibrating what works for you. However, it may be difficult to know your limits at first, so it’s always recommended that new users start low and go slow.
Cannabis Edibles Packaging: What to Look for
Due to combined regulations in the food and cannabis industry, edibles packaging always marks the total THC content in milligrams, the overall weight, and the serving size. Often, the serving size will also have its own THC content calculated and clearly marked. It’s worth noting that different strains can provoke different effects within the user, so it’s also a good idea to check for the type of cannabis being incorporated.
How Long Does It Take for the Effects of Edibles to Kick in?
The time required for edibles to take effect can vary between 30 minutes to two hours. Reaction times depend on the amount of food accompanying cannabis’s consumption, whether there’s alcohol in your system, your metabolic rate, as well as a number of other factors.
Cannabis Edibles Effects
Cannabis edibles can trigger a light hallucinatory experience, pleasurable mood changes, and the classic “body high,” leaving the user with a gentle buzzing sensation. Additional effects include the popular feeling of relaxation and light-headedness as well as increased appetite and reduced blood pressure.
Enjoying Your Edibles Trip
Enjoying your edibles trip is easy so long as you’re careful to avoid common pitfalls. Always check the THC content on cannabis edibles’ packaging and remember to start slow, so you can avoid becoming overwhelmed by the psychoactive compounds. Also, it often helps to explore your first few forays with trusted friends to enhance the experience and provide support if needed.
Edibles Side Effects: Can You Overdose on Cannabis Edibles?
You can absolutely overdose on cannabis edibles, and easily so. Too much of this good thing quickly leads to intense anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, and sometimes pain or anguish.
If you do overdose, don’t attempt to take any medication to counteract the effects. Instead, slowly move to a quiet, safe space. Try to relax (take deep breaths), call for a friend to come over and just hold their hand while the panic passes. Don’t worry; you’ll live.
And even if you don’t overdose, understand that the high from consuming edibles can immobilise you for up to 12 hours in some cases, rendering you unfit to complete tasks that demand your full attention.
Child and Animal Safety
As edibles often look very appealing to children (gummies, cookies, etc.) and smell even more appealing to pets (chocolate, cookies, etc.), it is very important to keep your cannabis goodies safely stored away from them.
Ingesting edibles can lead to marijuana poisoning in pets and even, in large doses, be fatal. Children are susceptible to similar risks; there are cases of infants being treated in intensive care units as a result of cannabis consumption. Safety first, people!
What’s the Shelf-life of Edibles?
Cannabis edibles, like any other food product, can go stale or spoil. With that said, most edible products are made to last and don’t pose any serious health risks (a stale gummy isn’t going to kill you). Packaging generally includes an expiry date. Also, you needn’t worry about a drop in cannabinoid quality—THC potency in edibles remains well preserved.
While CBD won’t get you high, it’s credited with a slew of medical benefits such as treating depression, sleeping disorders, and chronic pain. And like THC, its effects last longer when consumed in edible form. It’s no surprise, then, that CBD edibles are becoming increasingly popular, specifically in specialty health food markets.
Some edibles will contain CBD only, while others embrace the entourage effect and include traces of THC (along with additional cannabinoids and terpenes for good measure). Be sure to read the label and do your homework before chowing down. With CBD edibles, minor side effects can include fatigue and variations in appetite.
How to Make Cannabis Edibles
Though it may take some time to perfect, making your own edibles can be extremely satisfying. The heart of the process lies in infusing butter with active marijuana oils and then incorporating the concoction in your recipe, giving every bite an even amount of joy-inducing THC.
Cannabis butter (a.k.a. “cannabutter”) is made by toasting cannabis in the oven, grinding the result, and combining it with household butter. The ground bud needs to cook in the melted butter for some time so that the oils can seep from the vegetable matter into the dairy fat. The final solution is then strained to remove bitter plant particles and chilled so it can take shape. Use the butter on toast, melted on ice cream, or in your favorite dish to add a new dimension to your meal.
Make Cannabis Edibles Without Cooking
One of the big issues with the traditional way of making cannabis edibles is the smell. The first step—toasting the cannabis bud—is important, as it increases the oil’s potency, but it also stinks up your kitchen pretty badly. But don’t worry, for those who don’t want to tick off the neighbours, there are a couple of no-cook options.
Cannabis concentrates (refined cannabis compounds), as well as cannabis distillates (cannabis that’s refined to single cannabinoids), are powerful and convenient alternatives to homemade cannabis butter. Not only do they require less effort, as they’re ready-made, but they’re largely odour-free.
Popular Cannabis Edibles
While edibles come in all shapes, sizes, and flavours, there’s no question that the most popular products are cannabis chocolates, cannabis gummies, and cannabis cookies. These bite-sized treats are not only delicious but also reduce chances of overdose.
Chocolate and cannabis—two of life’s little pleasures create an obvious recipe for success. Just right in so many ways, cannabis chocolate bars are conducive to better dosage control, as one bar can easily be broken into much smaller chocolate pieces. Moreover, the rich taste of chocolate helps mask some of cannabis’s less appealing flavours.
Cute, nostalgic, and ever-playful, cannabis gummies allow for precise dose estimations due to their tiny nature. The sweet treats have also found a place in the world of vitamin health, making self-medicating much more fun!
Cannabis Cookies and Brownies
If gummies are the standard bearers for contemporary edibles, cannabis cookies and brownies definitely speak of an older craft and culture. Their appearance in 1970s American kitchens made them world famous and eternally beloved. The butter content in these treats offers home cooks the perfect opportunity to incorporate personally extracted cannabis oils.
As with all forms of psychoactives, it’s important to be aware of the risks as much as the joys. “Starting low and going slow” has become the classic mantra shared throughout the community, guiding those who seek to discover a new facet of food, cannabis, and the joyful union of the two.